Featured image: demonstrators protest against the repressive forces of the State of Bangladesh. Source: Mahmud Hossain Opu/Dhaka Tribune.
Huge clashes have exploded again in Bangladesh. The people protest and the State puts all its repressive forces with the function to try to stop the struggle. Today a generalized blockade of the country convened by the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), the main bourgeois party of the opposition, began. Local media are monitoring the blockages and how they advance in several parts of the country, counting riots, numerous burned vehicles, injured policemen, etc. The figures can vary between the statements from the Government or from the bourgeois parties, but the United Nations has declared a death toll of nine people killed at the 31st of October. According to the BNP, two of them were killed today, in a brutal police attack in which the police shot with live fire against the protesters, killing two, and hurting 250. This brutal and disproportionate use of force by the State of Bangladesh has not dissuaded the protesters, and the mobilizations and clashes between them and the police continue. Local newspapers report on a daily basis on dozens of injured in different parts of the country.
As what happened in the protests of July, on which we have reported on earlier, the bourgeois party convened that these mobilizations are the BNP, but the masses have overflowed these protests and overcome the tied electoral motives of this party. This Monday the 30th of October in the largest industrial areas of Dhaka, Gazipur and Savar, the proletariat of the textile sector has decided to continue with its own struggle and demands, calling for a strike. Thousands of proletarians have demanded that the minimal wage should be increased, have blocked the entrance to industrial areas, burned factories and some of them have even given their lives in the fight: two proletarians have been murdered by police, and another 30 have been injured. The Minister of Labor, Monnujan Sufian, called for calmness and to continue with the work, but the proletariat was still on strike and even responding with more anger and burning police vehicles. The local bourgeoisie has rushed to promise a significant salary increase from 1st of December, thus trying to calm the proletariat.
The governing faction of the ruling classes in Bangladesh, which runs the Government of the Awami League (AL), is trying to behead the BNP, and has arrested the Secretary General of the party, Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgar. The BNP states that 3,000 of its activists have been arrested during the past week, while the Government of the AL affirms that 1,480 activists have been arrested due to the riots of this weekend. On the other hand, the Government states that it accuses thousands of unidentified people of the riots, and that this case is currently open. An arrest warrant has also been issued against another BNP leader, Mirza Abbas, who was a minister in the previous BNP government, reactivating a pending corruption accusation. Another arrested personality is the joint general secretary of the BNP, Syed Moazzem Hossain Alal.
In addition to this large number of arrests, the State of Bangladesh is strongly militarizing the streets of the country, especially Dhaka. In recent days it has deployed not only police forces, but also military forces. 300 patrols of 15 police battalions and special forces have been mobilized and the intelligence agents of the country have been alerted to make a much greater police control. Regarding the deployment of military units, on Tuesday the 31st of October, 22 Border Guard platoons had been deployed in Dhaka. On the other hand, the AL is giving weapons to their own thugs, and leading them to their manifestations and throw them to dissolve the demonstrations and just struggles of the people, while accusing protesters of being criminals and not respecting the law.
The imperialist powers are very interested and closely following the situation in Bangladesh, mainly Yankee imperialism. At the same time, part of the local ruling classes also seek this proactive intervention of imperialism in defense of their own interests, as the BNP has done for a long time, seeking external intervention in national affairs. We have previously reported on the importance of Yankee imperialism in the country, which acts in a very prominent way through the International Monetary Fund (IMF). On Friday 27th of October, the day before the first strong protests, American diplomats met with high ranks of the State of Bangladesh, and reaffirmed that the “only means to changing government, is through elections.” On Saturday the 29th of October, Yankee imperialism stated regarding the riots that took place: it condemned violence and called for calmness, condemning political violence and calling for calmness on all sides, and warning of new possible restrictions. This should not surprise anyone, due to the enormous export of financial capital carried out through the IMF loan granted in January of this year. Another relevant fact is that the imperialism that has the most direct investment in Bangladesh, is Yankee imperialism, with a total of 20% in 2021, according to the US State Department itself.
As it happens in other parts of the world, imperialism increases the plunder and repressive brutality in countries that they oppress, in semi-colonial and semi-feudal countries, with the help of local lackeys. In Bangladesh there are several characteristics common to many other countries in the area: a suffocating debt, provided by financial organizations of Yankee imperialism; a growing militarization of the streets and brutal repression against its people that can’t stand this situation anymore; but also, despite this brutal repression, each time and more frequently, the people explode and there are more and more clashes in the streets, because the people persist in their struggle.